It's another slow week for manga, with the big Viz release week behind us and Yen Press books coming out next week. We have some solid choices, though, as CLAMP's xxxHOLiC wraps up and a number of solid series keep chugging along.

The big news of the week is the vol. 19 of xxxHOLiC, the final volume in the series. If it seems like xxxHOLiC has been running forever, well, the first volume came out in the U.S. in 2004, so it has had a good run. Interestingly, this manga is still published under the Del Rey imprint; it's the only Japanese Del Rey title I know of that didn't transition over to Kodansha Comics (and yes, it is published by Kodansha in Japan). For those who are new to the series, it's about a high school student who is surrounded by spirits but just wants to be left alone; like many manga characters, he finds a shop that grants wishes, but the owner, a witch, forces him to complete a series of tasks for her as the price of granting his wish. CLAMP's beautiful, stylized art makes this a manga worth checking out. Read More...

Outside of Darth Vader and The Joker, there has been no pop-culture villain quite as iconic as Ming the Merciless. In April we'll learn more about the early days of the Flash Gordon nemesis, as Merciless - The Rise Of Ming #1 hits stands from Dynamite Entertainment.

MTV Geek caught up with Merciless - The Rise Of Ming writer Scott Beatty about the series he is working on with interior artist Ron Adrian and cover/concept artist Alex Ross:

MTV Geek: Has there been any established background for Ming's early life, or is this something you interpolated based on his "official" exploits so far?

Scott Beatty: A little from Column A and a little from Column B, but most of MERCILESS is "whole cloth," ideas that sprang forth from FLASH GORDON: ZEITGEIST and inspiration from Ming's previous appearances in comics and film. Read More...

After last week's bounty, the pickings are a little thinner this week, and that gives us time to look at an older series that's worth checking out.

Kodansha has vol. 22 of Air Gear and vol. 4 of Gon. It's a good week if you're an Air Gear fan, and if you're not, grab the opportunity to check out Gon. This wordless manga about a feisty little dinosaur who travels the world and gets into all sorts of trouble is a collection of short stories, so the fourth volume is as easy to pick up as the first. Don't be fooled by the cute covers—Gon about nature, so it is filled with action and violence, as well as a bit of humor. Creator Masashi Tanaka is an amazing draftsman, and his muscular, realistic drawings of animals are what makes this series special. Read More...

By Kevin Kelly

Stan Lee is anything but shy and reticent, which you'll notice immediately when watching With Great Power... The Stan Lee Story. He's outspoken, self-promotional, jovial, and somehow through all of it he manages to remain humble as well, despite the fact that this documentary makes it sound like he nearly invented Marvel Comics single-handedly. Which might be true, as it is hard to imagine what the company would have been like throughout the 60s when they seemed to churn out hit after hit with Lee behind the typewriter.

One thing that needs to be pointed out early in this review is that this film was produced by Gill Champion, Stan Lee's friend and COO of Lee's POW! Entertainment, so we're fairly certain that the movie had Stan's final stamp of approval on it. As much light as the film sheds on Stan's life, we're sure that there could have been more stuff included in here. Why didn't they interview anyone from Jack Kirby or Joe Simon's families? What about any comments on the merger with Disney? More about the failed Stan Lee Media (which Champion was also involved with)? Read More...

A lot of you may know about Gene Simmons, rock legend and frontman for KISS. But do you also know about Gene Simmons the Geek? He's a huge comic book and science fiction fan, having published fanzines and possessing a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the books he's into and able to name everyone from the writer and artist to the inker and the letterer on books that he is into.

Simmons was on hand in Park City this week to introduce the world to Ortsbo, a real-time translation service that can provide captions for video in over 50 languages. You can watch his live-chat with Stan Lee in multiple languages, who was in town to promote the documentary about his life With Great Power... The Stan Lee Story at Slamdance. Read More...

Welcome, everyone to the seventh installment of our time-traveling, space-warping round up of all the news we could find about the world’s most popular Timelord, Doctor Who. And there’s a ton of news to get through because, remember: this article is bigger on the inside.

ITEM! Will Sophia Myles Be The New Companion?
Probably not, but the actress - who played Mme Pompadour in the much beloved “Girl in the Fireplace” episode - had a bit of a cryptic tweet exchange with Steven Moffat over the weekend, leading many to think she’ll end up in the TARDIS. We’re guessing there may be a return to the character/settings of the episode most likely, or a cameo - particularly likely as Moffat wrote the episode in question. We shall see...

MARTY! Doctor Who Goes Back To The Future... Again
Other than the time travel, what is it that keeps inspiring people like DeviantArt user RatGirlStudios to mash up Back to the Future with Doctor Who? We’d think it was the vehicles, but we have yet to see a police box with doors that open upwards, so...

WESTPHALL! Leverage and Community and Doctor Who and Inspector Spacetime Crossover
First of all, if you get what we’re referring to in that first word, you get a bonus prize. Second, Leverage creator John Rogers confirmed on his blog that as of the last episode, his characters not only watch both Doctor Who and the Community parody Inspector Spacetime, but that Community takes place in the Leverage universe. Mind blown.

PURSE! This Clutch Is Re-TARDIS
Not that we use a purse, but oh my god we want this purse. It could be a back-pack or something, right? Bet it's bigger on the inside.

DINOS! Video Looks At Who’s Effects
This neat little video we’ll leave you with goes behind the scenes of the effects on a classic Who episode, “Invasion of the Dinosaurs.” Enjoy!

Related Posts:
10 TV Shows We're Looking Forward To In 2012
What's New With Doctor Who: Helen Mirren, Cat TARDIS, and Back To The Future


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Power Out, Nathan Schreiber’s Xeric award winning story of a boy’s journey to self discovery after – you guessed it – a power outage is back, on MTV Geek. And this time, the book won’t just be completed, Schreiber has taken the opportunity to go back to the original and make tweaks and changes. To find out more about the complex process – as well as why these changes make him want to puke – read on:

MTV Geek: You’ve been working on this book for a long time, how’d it first get started?

Nathan Schreiber: For three years I designed prints for women's underwear at fashion companies in Manhattan. While this was a comfortable (if somewhat bizarre) living it never satisfied me in any substantial way. When I got laid off in the beginning of 2008, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on this story that had been kicking around in my head.

Geek: Just reading through your Blog, it seems like you’ve had some great kicks in the pants for keeping it going, from the Xeric, to Angeloume, to now MTV Geek… Since I know a lot of writers struggle with keeping the inspiration going, how important have these moments been, and have there been any others?

NS: These have been absolutely crucial! I think if you didn't know anything about me and you saw that I won a Xeric, got nominated for an Eisner, got a residency in France, etc, you might think I've lived a pretty charmed life as a creator. And I have been very blessed, there is no doubt. But while making Power Out I've had some extraordinary lows as well - I lived illegally in an art studio (without a shower) for over two years, smashed my left arm to the point where I now have seventeen permanent screws holding it together, and have been generally living pretty desperately ever since I decided to devote my full attention to comics, which pays next to nothing! It's been tough so I'm quite grateful for any help I can find. Read More...

2011 was a big year for manga, with a new publisher (Kodansha Comics), the return of Sailor Moon, the demise of Tokyopop, and a host of other events. But the biggest story of the year, one that stretched across almost all publishers, was the adoption of digital platforms for manga.

Manga publishers have been slower than others to make the move from paper to pixels, in part because Japanese licensors tightly control the way manga was published and until recently, they weren't interested in digital rights. That situation has been changing over the past few years, and 2011 was the year that manga went digital in a big way.

Viz launches new platforms and digital Shonen Jump: Viz Media led the way with its iPad app, which was announced in late 2010. Right from the start, they put flagship series such as Naruto on the app and charged $4.99 per volume, about half the price of a current print volume. They continued to add both new volumes and new platforms throughout 2011, making their digital manga available via the iPhone/iPod Touch, their own web store, and the Nook (Barnes & Noble's e-reader). Read More...

With the February debut of the Jennifer Blood spinoff, The Ninjettes on the way in February, we thought we'd talk to the writer of both series, Al Ewing about working with Garth Ennis' gory-funny creations. Ewing is joined by artist Ewan Casallos and the series shows us the sexed-up lady mercs before some of them met their gruesome end in the pages of Jennifer Blood.

Here's the official synopsis:

Who are they? How did they come to be dead and/or decapitated? And what kind of brutal insanity is their passing about to unleash? Find out the grim connection between college student Kelly Hara and the ice-cold engine of death known as Varla as the origin of the Ninjettes is revealed! Don't miss this ultra-violent odyssey of sin, scandal, brutality and branding!

Read on for Ewing's Russ Meyer-infused inspiration for the characters, the trouble with PMCs, and his pitch for The Manjettes.

It's always interesting to look across the ocean to what creators and publishers are doing in Japan, because much of what happens over there ends up over here as well. Here's a quick roundup.

New Legend of Zelda manga: With the release of the latest Legend of Zelda game, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, comes news that the two-woman creative team known as Akira Himekawa will draw a new Legend of Zelda manga based on the new game. The manga will be published by Shogakukan, which is one of the parent companies of the American publisher Viz Media, so it's a good bet that Viz will eventually publish this one as well; they have already published ten volumes of Legend of Zelda manga.

Shoulder-a-Coffin, Kuro to come back after two-year hiatus: Shoulder-a-Coffin, Kuro, a light supernatural fantasy tale told in mostly 4-koma (four-panel gag strip) format, was licensed by Yen Press a few years ago, and the first two volumes were well received. After that there were no new volumes because the series, which ran in Houbunsha's Manga Time Kirara magazine, was on hiatus while creator Satoro Kiyuduki worked on GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class (also licensed by Yen). But there's good news for Kuro fans this week, and it came in the form of a note on the wraparound band on GA: Kiyuduki is back at work on Shoulder-a-Coffin, Kuro, and the series will resume in February. In addition, the third collected volume will be available in Japan in January. Read More...

So have I ever mentioned that I have a girl crush on Ashley Eckstein? You know, the founder of Her Universe and voice of Ahsoka Tano on Clone Wars?? She is just so frakking adorable, nice, cute and when I stand next to her, I look like I'm six months pregnant! WTF??? Ok enough, anyway, Her Universe is debuting all new holiday products this Monday November 28th!!

In addition to presenting assorted new Geek Girl pieces to the Her Universe product line, Eckstein is offering a FREE Limited Edition Star Wars holiday pin of everyone's favorite Jedi Master, Yoda. For the first 500 orders placed on shoppers will receive this pin along with a signed card from Eckstein, herself. For orders of $40.00 or more, customers will receive FREE SHIPPING as well.

Available for the first time this holiday season is a new thermal hoodie design with original art by Star Wars artist, Cat Staggs. Also from the beloved Star Wars franchise is a regal sterling silver plated Jedi charm to add to the already popular Star Wars charm bracelet. For Syfy, Eckstein has created several new products for their television shows including a Battlestar Galactica pajama set and a stunning, sterling silver plated Battlestar Galactica necklace featuring Admiral Adama's senior pilot wings. For followers of Warehouse 13, Eckstein has produced an ultra-soft WH 13 logo burnout tee so you can imagine you're a Warehouse agent seeking supernatural artifacts while you "snag it, bag it and tag it." As a fan of the Syfy series, Eureka, Eckstein has created a useful holiday tote bag featuring the cast of Eureka in animated form with exclusive art from the holiday episode of this fan favorite show. All of these new items will be available to order on the Her Universe website starting on November 28th.

Ok I speak for myself when I say the hoodie has me written all over it!! How damn cute is that? And how true? Yikes..

Ok time to start shopping for my fellow chick Jedis!

Related Posts:

Ashley Eckstein at NYCC!!

Star Wars Crafts w/Ashley Eckstein, Bonnie Burton and Liz Lee!


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There’s a tricky road to walk when you cross over in the comic book industry from being a critic, to being the subject of criticism. Plenty of writers have made the leap – from Gail Simone, to Mark Waid; but plenty more haven’t, suffering under the crushing, “You’ve made fun of me for years, and this is the best you could produce?”

Happily, Blair Butler, host of G4’s Fresh Ink section of Attack of the Show shouldn’t have a lot to worry about, as her earnest Mixed Martial Arts comic Heart launches this week from Image Comics, with art by Kevin Mellon. The book doesn’t try to be the next mega-franchise, or redefine how we look at comics. Instead, it takes a look at MMA from the perspective of an insider and a fan, which Butler (sort of) is both.

We chatted with Butler about the book at New York Comic Con this year, and the host (now writer!) said, “It’s about this guy named Oren Rooster who gets tired of punching the clock, and finds he’s good at punching guys in the face… And making them go violently to sleep.”

NYCC 2011: Blair Butler Talks 'Heart'


Teen superteams Avengers Academy and The Runaways face off in March!

It seems like such an obvious fit, we’re surprised it hasn’t happened sooner: will the anti-heroic students of Avengers Academy be welcoming the anti-heroic kids of The Runaways to their ranks? We’ll find out in March of 2012, as writer Christos Gage welcomes the fan-favorites to the halls of AA for a two-part arc that may or may not answer the question we posed in the title. To find out more, we chatted with Gage, so read on! Okay? Okay!

MTV Geek: The Runaways have always been – sometimes literally – underground… How do they end up in a relatively public place like Avengers Academy?

Christos Gage: They actually come knocking. A reader pointed out to us that the Runaways’ Victor Mancha, who was created by Ultron, is – in a weird way – Hank Pym’s grandson (since Hank created Ultron)! So when the Runaways need help with something, Victor decides it’s time he met dear old Granddad. I’m guessing Hank’s reaction will be a bit like I feel when I hear Ozzy Osbourne playing in a supermarket… “I’m old!”

Geek: There’s some pretty close parallels between the two groups – both skirting the lines of villains and heroes… Can you talk about that a bit?

CG: You’re right, and I think that’s a huge reason the characters fit well together. None of them are Bucky or even Johnny Storm, who may have been reckless at times but was still always a hero. These are the weird kids who you could see either ending up in jail or founding Microsoft. They started behind the eight ball and they’re struggling just to stay afloat. And yet they’ve chosen very different paths, one group rejecting the adult world while the other trains to be a part of it. It’ll be interesting to see if any of them think the grass looks greener on the other side.

Geek: There’s also some pretty close parallels in the real world, as both titles sell consistently, are critically acclaimed, and seem to slowly gain more fans as they go on – they’re the slow burns. Did that make the two teams natural fits?

CG: Beats me. I hope so. You look at something like WALKING DEAD, which started out selling just a few thousand copies and now outsells most major titles. That book gained readers by word of mouth, people telling each other how good it was, leading to sales growing steadily over time. As hard as it is in this market, I’d love for AVENGERS ACADEMY to follow that example. I’d also be happy for it to sell at its current level for a hundred more issues. Anything that lets me keep writing the stories! Read More...

The creators of Marvel's Shame Itself include Daily Show writers and on-air personalities

Are you ready to feel shame??? Marvel hopes you are, as on November 2nd it launches a one-shot humor anthology, Shame Itself, by some of New York’s best up and coming comedy writers, and some of the best comic book artists in the business. The project was put together, and edited by Tom Brennan, the roguish “James Dean of Marvel” who has been championing a number of off-beat projects, like the time traveling Iron Age, and Joe Casey’s universe-trotting non-Event/Event, Vengeance.

“Wait, have I been doing that?” asked Brennan, when we chatted with him over e-mail. “I wouldn't say off-beat. I like to work on what I like to read, so maybe I have an off-beat sensibility. I honestly don't know what to make of this question. But I would say that we're heavily encouraged at Marvel to make the most of every project -- inject as much life, creativity and excitement into every book (really, every panel on every page) and so when I'm given the chance to do a project, I want to make it as unique an experience for the reader as possible. What can I give you that you can't get anywhere else? Shame Itself is certainly a place where you'll get creators and stories you won't find anywhere else.”

"Assassins suck!" and other marvel-ous magazine articles we'd like to see...

Those creators include Daily Show writers (and on air personalities), including Elliott Kalan and Wyatt Cenac, who have previously written stories for Marvel – but also newbies, like Sirius XM host Sara Benincasa, filmmaker Victor Varnado, and ECNY Award winner Kurt Braunohler. “This is the first comic I've ever written,” said Braunohler. “And I'm a relatively new comic book fan. But I'm a huge sci-fi nerd so it was a natural selection process that lead me to Marvel. It's REALLY changing the game. I make Man-Thing TALK. Which I don't think has happened before?” Read More...

Okay, so that headline is totally not fair, at all… But anyone who read the excellent one-shot ‘Our Love Is Real’ during its initial – tiny – print run, or on a digital platform knows that writer Sam Humphries scifi opus doesn’t shy away from some really weird ideas. Sexual ideas. About dogs. And plants. And crystals.

Now, after success with a limited run, Humphries is releasing the book to a much wider audience through Image Comics on November 2nd (hey, you can pre-order it here!). With the order cut off date fast approaching on October 10th, we thought we’d check in with Humphries to talk about one of our favorite single issue comics of the year. Oh, and how much research he had to do for the dog sex portions of the book:

MTV Geek: Before we get into “Our Love Is Real,” can you talk about your background in the comic book industry – how you got to where you are now?

Sam Humphries: Sure. In 2002 I worked for a manga company called Gutsoon! Entertainment, publisher of Raijin Comics, which was my first entry into comics as an industry. Some time later, for two and a half years, I worked in content and development at MySpace, back when it was cool to work for MySpace. One of the projects I developed there was MySpace Comic Books, including MySpace Dark Horse Presents and so forth. After all that collapsed, I began pushing myself as a comic book writer.

Geek: What was the impetus for self-releasing Our Love Is Real?

SH: I didn't have anything else going on. No projects coming up. No books in the pipeline. Nothing on tap. I was about to have a "lost year" in a two-year career, and I felt like a loser. Then I realized, fuck it, if I'm gonna go down, I might as well go down swinging, right? So I decided that no matter what, I was going to spend 2011 making comics and putting them out there. If a publisher wanted to be a part of that plan, great...but if not, I was going to figure out how to do it myself. I wasn't going to wait for anyone else to come around and give me permission. That was just an illusion I had, anyway -- that need for a rubber stamp of approval to go ahead and make a comic. Read More...

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